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Best Practices in Global Partnerships: A Reflection on Lessons We Are Learning in International Relationships

Author: Jay Jarboe
Published: August 2015

MD 6.2

Article Type: Text Article

The strength of the church has shifted to the global south following the rapid growth of Christianity outside of the Western world. This reality is challenging mission servants in North America to rethink our role on the global mission stage. This article examines several lessons Western mission leaders have learned by listening, failing, and seeking to be better partners with others in the mission of God. The author suggests that collaborative relationships are the environment through which the gospel will spread in a new global missions landscape.

“I have never heard an American ask that question before.” This statement from a church leader in Southeast Asia began our journey in rethinking how we as American leaders work with our international counterparts. The question posed to this Asian leader was, “What is your kingdom vision for your region of the world and how can we help you with that vision?” His initial response came after a long pause. He responded somewhat out of shock: “You Americans come here with your visions and your strategies and ask us to join you. We are happy to do so, but no one takes the time to ask what are our visions and strategies for our country.” This response from a national leader led the team at Missions Resource Network (MRN) to amazing conversations and a huge shift in approach to our global partnerships. MRN is a mission ministry created in 1998 to assist Churches of Christ to accomplish their mission vision locally and globally. We equip churches and church leaders to make disciples, send and nurture their missionaries, network and partner with others, and vision strategically. In an effort to learn how to work globally, we have listened to national leaders in Singapore, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Rwanda, Russia, and Croatia, among many others. Our learning began by asking the right questions and then doing nothing else but listening.

At a Churches of Christ lectureship, the MRN staff gathered national leaders from various places around the world. We began to explain our desire to listen as they share their visions, victories, and challenges for their churches and their people. One sister, an African ministry leader came to one of our team members, took both of his hands, and said, “Thank you, thank you. I was converted and trained by American missionaries and I will always be indebted to them. But I have never heard an American speak as you speak with a desire to listen and know our dreams for the kingdom in our region.” These experiences with international partners grew and multiplied. It took time to develop enough trust in our relationships for them to be convinced that we truly wanted to listen. It also became a humbling experience to hear not only of the victories in American partnership around the globe but more often about the failures, the arrogance, the control, and the insensitivity the Christian world has experienced from their American friends. Of course, the great majority of US mission workers have very good motivations and intentions. We mean well, but a lack of cultural sensitivity has frequently been evident in our foreign mission efforts. Don’t hear these international leaders as saying that they do not appreciate kingdom partnership with the West, nor hear them saying that they do not want the US churches to continue joining the world in our global mission. Instead the American church needs to hear that our challenge is to learn how to best work with others in a world mission. What are the best practices we need to apply in a new global missions landscape? At MRN we are still listening and learning; however, here are some lessons we are striving to live out in our international relationships.

Lesson 1: Remember We are All Involved in God’s Mission

God has called his people to join him in making disciples of every nation, tribe, language, and people (Matt 28:18–20; Rev 14:6). We are to join God in his mission by planting and watering the seed of the good news and trusting God to provide the growth (1 Cor 3:6–9). God is at work around the globe and not just through the Western church. Global missions does not originate solely from North America. God is on mission, and our role is to join him in his mission. For too long we have asked God to bless what we have planned rather than ask him to involve us in what he is blessing. Dependency upon God through prayer is a mission principle that receives lip service but, in my experience, little obedient attention. Any movement of God is preceded by confession, repentance, and pleading for God’s presence. It has taken me years to recognize that prayer and faith belong in the same conversation. I have been impressed with what we call the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1–8. It is one of the few parables where the purpose of the parable is so clearly stated in the text. Luke records, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).1 The direct relationship between a consistent prayer lifestyle and perseverance is unmistakable. Yet, Jesus concluded this parable with a perplexing question: “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). If the subject was persistent prayer, why bring up the issue of faith? Is the topic prayer or faith? The answer is that faith and prayer are one and the same. If you are praying, you are faith-filled; if you are not praying, you are faithless.

How does prayer to and faith in God relate to our global relationships? We are mission-less without God. We have no reason for existence without God. We have no power, purpose, or mission without God’s leading. This realization helps us to understand our proper place. It is not our mission but God’s. Therefore, we don’t arrive on a mission site with quick-fix strategies dependent upon our skills. We rather arrive with humility and submission in dependent prayer to the God of mission. We first join the leaders in a region in unrelenting faith-filled prayer to the sovereign Lord who leads and empowers his people.

Lesson 2: Listen, Learn, and Build Relationships

We tend to be good at telling, teaching, and giving a lot of information. Of course, there are always significant moments for preaching and teaching. Jesus went about teaching, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing (Matt 9:35). However, when we are joining our brothers and sisters in their land, we first need to listen and learn. Jane Vella in her book Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults describes the steps in the development of a cross-cultural mutual learning process. One basic assumption she makes is that “adult learning is best achieved in dialogue. Dia means between and logos means word. Hence, dia + logue = “the word between us.”2 She also points out that the dialogue is not just between the teacher and student but also between the students themselves.

At MRN we have learned that our role is often the role of a facilitator, a coach, one who is creating the environment for transformational learning to take place. This learning environment is based upon relationships. We are not just developing projects or plans, but we are ministering in relationship with God and his people. Trust becomes the common denominator in these relational connections. Of course, time and ministry together is required to develop trust in any working relationship. Moreover, in some cultures, a relationship of trust is more important than a formal document (e.g., a memorandum of understanding) that spells out roles and expectations. I remember sitting with an African leader feeling a desire to refer to our MOU to make sure we were moving toward accomplishing the stated goals of our partnership. My good brother smiled at me as if to say, “you poor American, so rushed and driven by so much activity.” I cannot remember exactly all of the words spoken after that smile. But what I received was an encouragement not to worry so much about the piece of paper that describes our relationship, but rather focus on the relationship itself. I confess that I have often had to resist the temptation to feel that we are going too slowly in our partnerships and “not accomplishing enough.” My African brothers and sisters have shared their view of the importance of trusting relationships through a proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The art of listening and maintaining good communication and relational trust becomes vitally important to any international joint venture.

Lesson 3: Respect God’s Work Among National Leaders

One of the greatest blessings that I have received in my experience with our international partners has been to see God’s work through national church leaders. When traveling to listen, learn, and share with churches around the globe, a thought constantly rings in my mind: “I feel like I am walking on holy ground.” God is accomplishing amazing things through his people. I have been with South African leaders who have a vision for planting churches throughout the continent of Africa, in Pakistan, and in India. I have listened to servants in Singapore with a dream of seeing disciples made throughout all of Southeast Asia and beyond. They are willing to give of their resources, their time, and their very lives to see the good news of Jesus shared locally and beyond their borders. I have sat with disciple-makers in Rwanda and been amazed by a powerful forgiving spirit. Their focus on the transformation of broken lives is being blessed by God in the multiplication of hundreds and even thousands of Jesus followers. I work side by side with men in Mexico who are committed to change the culture of absent fathers and spiritually weak men. Good partnership practices demand that we first see where God is at work among these amazing servants of God. Jean Johnson describes the mistakes we make when we begin to implement our dreams and visions rather than respecting God’s work taking place among local leaders:

When Western missionaries use their ethnocentric influence and economic affluence in ministry, they inevitably birth ministries that are carbon copies of their expensive, Western forms of Christianity. This action makes it nearly impossible for local disciples of Christ to implement effective evangelism, discipleship, worship, acts of compassion, leadership training, and church planting by mobilizing their own local resources and cultural expressions.3

By not respecting God’s unique work among our international coworkers, we often impose our methodology upon a different culture, thus creating dependency or transplanting an American church and mission. When we seek first to listen and learn from national leaders, we are amazed at the power of God that is at work among them. As a result we are humbled and better able to discern the role to which we are called in a global mission.

Lesson 4: Adopt a “Learner-Servant-Story teller” Posture

Thomas and Elizabeth Brewster have adapted a well-known article from Donald Larson entitled “The Viable Missionary: Learner, Trader, Storyteller.”4 They encourage a model of ministry that does not operate from a position of privilege or expertise but rather from a ministry model that can be emulated. The learner-servant-storyteller posture is rooted in the teaching and incarnational ministry model of Jesus. Jesus’ early disciples were in fact “learners.” Jesus told these original kingdom learners, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:18–20). For years I correctly quoted what we call the Great Commission, but I lived as if Jesus said, “teaching them everything I have commanded you,” instead of, “teaching them to obey [or observe] everything that I have commanded you.” More information does not necessarily bring about more transformation. Information and teaching are vitally important. Nonetheless, we must become fellow students together with our partners as we listen to the word of God and learn to obey the teachings of Jesus. We must renew our trust in the power of the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s ability to lead others into the truth as they apply the word of God in their lives, culture, and context:

The Learner-Servant-Storyteller posture provides a model of ministry that can easily be multiplied by others. To have a discipleship ministry in postures other than Learner, Servant, and Storyteller is to minister from the platform of a privileged, ascribed status. The model of ministry that is then provided may be perceived as out of the reach of those who are ministered to. They may not view themselves as having the necessary credentials or resources to carry on the ministry, and may therefore feel that the responsibility of making disciples or leading the ministry is something that only the expatriate missionary can do.5

Jesus challenges us to take the posture of a servant by following his example. “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who . . . made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Phil 2:5–7). The importance of listening is directly related to being a servant. We must develop a trusting environment where honest conversations can take place about true needs and healthy ways to serve one another. Continuing to follow the example of Jesus leads us to the role of a storyteller. Matthew states, “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable” (Matt 13:34). We are finding that creating an environment of discovery around the word of God with our international brothers and sisters empowers our mutual growth. We often use the Discovery Bible Study process, where together we are listening to the word of God, sharing what we are hearing from the text, and then exploring how we are going to obey Jesus within our specific setting. Discovering together keeps the foreigner from assuming the role of an expert and allows Jesus to be the teacher. As fellow learners of Jesus, we all join together as disciples seeking to obey all that Jesus has commanded.6

Included in this storyteller role is sharing the lessons we have learned from past successes and particularly past failures in global missions. As MRN was invited into a partnership with an Asian church actively involved in missions in their region, one local leader stated one of the reason they wanted a partnership with us. “You [Americans] have made so many mistakes, there is no need for us to make the same ones ourselves.” They want to learn from our mistakes. Missiologist Paul Borthwick suggests that one of our greatest contributions to the world as Western missionaries is the mistakes we have made in missions:

Someone once described an expert as a person who has made every possible mistake and tried to learn from them. In this regard, it is possible that the history of crosscultural mission over the last two hundred years has rendered North American experts. We’ve made (and are still making) the mistake of bringing too much of our Western cultures with us as we have gone out to serve.7

Another aspect of this storytelling role may be sharing how God is at work in other regions of the globe. In our global travels, we are often asked, “What is happening in God’s kingdom in other places around the world? What successes and failures do you see other churches experience? How can we learn from others?” Developing cross-cultural conversations and partnership is one service North Americans in global missions can render.

Lesson 5: Identify Our Best Contribution to the Partnership

So what do Westerners have to offer global partnerships today? With all of the mistakes we have made, surely global church leaders do not want our involvement. Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. The solution to global partnerships is not removing ourselves from the equation but rather engaging in a healthy way. Jean Johnson suggests that to create healthy global partnerships we must take on the posture of serving in “someone else’s shadow.” Living in someone else’s shadow is normally an unhappy thought, yet Johnson has identified working under local leadership as the best role for Westerners in cross-cultural contexts.8 Perhaps we need to renew the spirit of John the Baptizer in his relationship with Jesus: “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Learning to serve in the shadow of another is essential as we identify our best contribution to global partnerships.

One of the most important steps in growing as a healthy disciple and a spiritual leader is increasing our self-awareness. Reggie McNeal argues that one way we develop ourselves as servant leaders is the pursuit of greater self-awareness or self-understanding. Likewise, those who partner in global missions have a responsibility to pursue greater self-awareness, learn greater self-management, and commit to self-development.9 The spiritual exercise of self-awareness can help mission partners ask difficult questions: “Why are we involved in this mission? What is truly motivating us? Is it for our benefit or for the benefit of the kingdom of God? Is what we are bringing to the partnership requested, helpful, and needed?” Unfortunately, one’s involvement in a mission enterprise can be self-serving, in which case false motives drive the agenda rather than healthy kingdom commitments. Global partners must remain constantly aware of the spiritual dynamics that motivate us and determine our actions and role in the mission. Recognizing our strengths and weaknesses as Americans is an important aspect of growing in self-awareness and developing trusting partnerships.

We have already discussed several of our weaknesses; however, one deserves special attention as we seek greater self-awareness. Majority World Christians have the perception that American Christians are unwilling to live with the difficult problems faced in their countries. We want to fix everything and fix it our way. Jean Johnson tells the story of Steve Saint, who was developing a DVD series called Missions Dilemma: Is There a Better Way to Do Missions? Saint interviewed Christian leaders from around the world. He asked, “If there is one piece of advice you could give to North Americans about how to do missions better in your part of the world, what would it be?” Steve’s first interviewee, Oscar Muriu, a leader in Kenya, responded with these words:

You have an amazing capacity to resolve problems. Now, it’s a great thing about Americans: the ability to innovate and to resolve problems. The downside of that is that when you come to our context, you don’t know how to live with our problems. You see our poverty. You see our need. You see the places we’re hurting. And, you have a great compassion to come and solve us, but life can’t be solved that way. Many times well-intentioned Americans will come into our context and they try to fix my life. You can’t fix my life! What I need is a brother who comes and gives me a shoulder to cry on and gives me space to express my pain, but doesn’t try to fix me. When Jesus comes into the world he does not try to fix all the poverty, all the sickness, all the need, the political situation. He allows that to be, but he speaks grace and he speaks salvation and redemption within that context because there is a greater hope than this life itself. Now, this tendency to fix it has become a real issue so that some of the reserve we feel as Africans or as two-third worlders is so many people have come to fix us that O’ Lord, please don’t bring another person to fix us. We have been fixed so many times we are a real mess now. Please allow us to be us. Allow us to find God and to find faith in the reality of our need.10

Our American desire to fix everything often leads us to an assertiveness that unwittingly fosters dependency and exports Western institutions and structures that cannot be maintained by the local people with their own resources. One such example, provided by Neil Cole, challenges us to think about the difference between planting institutional churches and planting the presence of Jesus within a community:

Our mission is to find and develop Christ followers rather than church members. There is a big difference in the two outcomes. The difference is seen in transformed lives that bring change to neighborhoods and nations. Simply gathering a group of people who subscribe to a common set of beliefs is not worthy of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. We have planted religious organizations rather than planting the powerful presence of Christ. Often, that organization has a very Western structure, with values not found in the indigenous soil. If we simply plant Jesus in these cultures and help His church emerge indigenously from the soil, then a self-sustaining and reproducing church movement would emerge, not dependent upon the West and not removed from the culture in which it grows.11

Therefore, our best contribution may not be the exportation of Western institutional structures, but rather partnering to see the good news of Jesus planted, watered, and spread through the power of God.

Paul Borthwick, in his insightful book Western Christians in Global Mission, speaks honestly to the North American church as he identifies some of our best contributions to a global mission.12 One our greatest strengths is our experience in leading missions worldwide. Even though we have made many mistakes, the Majority World still sees the West as having the ability to bring various nations, world leaders, and churches together to empower a global mission movement. With this leadership comes our North American optimism and belief that change is possible. Many churches and church leaders are stuck in the past, fighting old battles and disbelieving that any type of positive change is possible. Our “can do” attitude tempered with a humble listening spirit can be a gift to the global church. This optimism leads to another strength which is our generosity and economic wealth. However, it is vital that we realize money alone is not the solution to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Nor is it always the most helpful resource to empower the Majority World church to share the good news among its peoples. We must become aware that this strength, if not used wisely, can create dependency and become our greatest weakness. Missionaries have experienced too many stories of good-hearted Americans who visited the mission field and began to provide financial help to one in need without consulting the national church leaders and ended up hurting rather than helping. Giving God the glory for our strengths and using them wisely while recognizing our weaknesses and submitting them to God, who accomplishes the impossible through his people, is vital to identifying our role in the mission of God in a diverse world.

Considering these lessons, strengths, and weaknesses, MRN has identified three of our best contributions in global mission partnerships:

(1) Sharing Equipping and Training Resources. Americans offer resources for equipping and training, particularly in the area of leader development for a global mission. We have been blessed with theological depth in our training programs, which should be shared and transferred in appropriate ways. The Western world can also provide certain technical skills and expertise in areas such as the medical field, water well drilling, business, and accounting. Borthwick interviewed one Majority World church leader who calls the American church “to help train and mobilize the indigenous church in areas such as governance, church planting, orality ministry, organizational development and discipleship training.”13

I recently had similar learning experience both in Asia and in Africa. We were asked to share team-building processes with leaders on both of these continents. One African leader said that their form of leadership is similar to a pyramid or a “top down” leadership model. He described his impression of an American model of leadership as being more “flat” or allowing leadership to come from a team rather than just one person. As we created an environment for them to experience team-building principles and discover body-life principles from Romans, 1 Corinthians and other biblical texts, together we were able to explore various leadership styles. MRN wants such equipping processes to create an environment where participants can learn from Scripture and the experiences of others who have struggled with similar issues. On this basis, local leaders identify core principles and possible models, which they can contextualize for their unique environments. The training provided must empower our international friends to follow the call of God in ways that engage their world and their people. In Acts Paul’s statement as he said farewell to the Ephesian elders at Miletus reveals such an empowering spirit. He reminded the elders of his service among them with great humility and tears. He taught them publicly and from house to house. However, as he said goodbye for the last time he entrusted them to “God and the word of his grace” knowing that it was God who would build them up and give them an inheritance among those those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32). Providing equipping and training opportunities, which empower and embolden national leaders to trust God and his word, can be one of the best contributions the Western church can make to a global mission movement.

(2) Coaching and Mentoring. Christian coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person or team to live out God’s calling in their life and ministry. Coaching is the process of coming alongside another servant of God, listening well, asking appropriate questions, and journeying together with them as they discover their next step in following Jesus. It is amazing how active listening can truly empower another leader. MRN was asked to do some basic leadership coach training, again in Africa. The training focused on using coaching skills rather than just providing information about coaching. One of the group’s first assignments was to divide up in pairs and take turns just listening to one another for thirty minutes. They were to share what was on their heart regarding struggles, joys, and desires for the future. As the group reassembled there was laughter, smiles, and a joyful mood. We debriefed regarding what they learned and experienced through the listening assignment, and I was amazed to hear what had come out of their conversations. They used descriptive words like energizing, empowering, powerful, comforting and helpful. I realized that I was looking at leaders who are constantly listening to others. However, they usually don’t have anyone outside their context whom they trust to listen well as they struggle through challenges, plans, and action steps. Coaching is described as “pulling out” what God has placed in a servant’s heart in order to empower them to discover options and action steps to help them move forward. Mentoring is often described as “putting into” the life of a servant leader by sharing wisdom, experience, and advice. Coaching and mentoring should not control or create dependency. They are tools that empower another to live a life being transformed into the image of Christ and fulfill their ministry in the kingdom of God. We are finding that our international partners are hungry for coaching and mentoring relationships from those they trust and believe will help them grow to be a disciple who makes other disciples.

(3) Stimulating Partnerships to Expand a Global Vision. Jesus prayed not only for his apostles, but also for those who would believe in him through their message. Jesus prayed for us: “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). Often, though, we fail to utilize resources and manpower for a shared vision in a particular region or area of ministry. In the Western world we have experience and relationships which enable us to draw people together, stimulate vision, empower the development of global strategies, and share past successes and failures. Therefore, one valuable role that North Americans can play on the world mission stage is to serve in the background and bring brothers and sisters together to share resources for kingdom purposes. MRN strives to facilitate conversations between people in similar ministries with common passions in related regions around the world. Americans like to receive credit, so it can be difficult not to be center stage. But we trust that God will be glorified when his people come together for a world mission vision.


As I leave new friends in foreign countries to return home after listening, learning, and serving with them, we often talk about follow-up. What can we do for one another to further the kingdom of God. I have sensed a shared desire in both of us that says, “Let’s keep in touch. We cannot forget one another.” Unfortunately, some American missionaries (both short term and long term) have been characterized by short attention spans, often forgetting about the ones they have served with in foreign lands. Borthwick tells of a translator seeing him off at the airport who said, “Please, don’t forget us.” Reflecting upon that fear, Borthwick shares an important principle from Gary Haugen, the founder of International Justice Mission. Haugen advocates what he calls “compassion permanence”: the ability to stay focused on the specific needs of others and to work until we make a difference:

Compassion permanence is distinguished by two words. Compassion means coming alongside of people in pain, in an effort to serve or empathize or relieve the suffering. Permanence implies duration; we stick with this ministry even after the need is no longer publicized and long after our tearful emotions have worn off.14

Developing healthy reciprocal kingdom relationship across boundaries is not an easy task. We have failed often, as well as enjoyed encouraging successes. Yet, we must not let our few successes and multiple failures hold us back from listening, learning, and engaging our brothers and sisters worldwide. We must be willing to make mistakes as we help and receive help. Compassionate presence demands that we continue to learn and grow together as God uses his people to bring transformation and renewal to a world in search of his reign.

Jay Jarboe is VP of Ministry Operations and Director for Church Equipping at Missions Resource Network (MRN), a global network equipping the body of Christ to steward the mission of God. Before joining MRN, Jay served as the Lead Minister for the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas. During his twenty-five-year ministry with the Sunset Church of Christ and Sunset International Bible Institute (SIBI), Jay served as the Director of the Adventures in Missions (AIM) program, an apprentice missionary training program, as the Dean of Missions at SIBI, and as an instructor in the Sunset International Bible Institute. He is married to Sherry, and they have two children, Meagan (26) and Ryan (22). Jay and Sherry were missionaries in Mexico City and now they work with missionaries and churches around the world. Sherry works as the Project Site Coordinator for “Let’s Start Talking,” a ministry that sends out hundreds of Christians around the globe to share their lives and Jesus by reading the Bible with those seeking to improve their English. Jay holds a BA from Texas Tech University, a Masters in Missions and a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) equivalency from Abilene Christian University. His passion is seeking to be transformed into the image of Christ and helping others in that same quest.


Borthwick, Paul. Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church? Downer Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

Brewster, E. Thomas, and Elizabeth S. Brewster. “Language Learning Is Communication—Is Ministry!” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 6, no. 4 (October 1982): 160–64,

Cole, Neil. “Organic Church.” In Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph Winter and Steve Hawthorne, 4th ed., 643–47. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009.

Johnson, Jean. We Are not the Hero: A Missionary’s Guide for Sharing Christ, not a Culture of Dependency. Sisters, Oregon: Deep River Books, 2012.

Larson, Donald N. “The Viable Missionary: Learner, Trader, Story Teller.” Missiology 6, no. 2 (April 1978): 155–163,

McNeal, Reggie. A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders. Updated Kindle ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Vella, Jane. Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults. Rev. ed. Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

1 Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.

2 Jane Vella, Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults, rev. ed., Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002), 3.

3 Jean Johnson, We Are not the Hero: A Missionary’s Guide for Sharing Christ, not a Culture of Dependency (Sisters, Oregon: Deep River Books, 2012), 17.

4 Donald N. Larson, “The Viable Missionary: Learner, Trader, Story Teller,” Missiology 6, no. 2 (April 1978): 155–63,

5 E. Thomas Brewster and Elizabeth S. Brewster, “Language Learning Is Communication—Is Ministry!” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 6, no. 4 (October 1982): 162,

6 Interactive Bible study approaches include: Discovery Bible Study, Missional Bible Study, Chronological Bible Storying, and a Three Symbol Pattern model. For a brief discussion of these approaches consult Johnson, 187–90.

7 Paul Borthwick, Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 68–69.

8 Johnson, 241.

9 Reggie McNeal, A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders, updated Kindle ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011), Kindle loc. 352.

10 Johnson, 12.

11 Neil Cole, “Organic Church,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, ed. Ralph Winter and Steven Hawthorne, 4th ed. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 645.

12 Borthwick, 65–68.

13 Borthwick, 173.

14 Borthwick, 179.

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